Andrew SpiersDr Andrew Spiers, Director of Science and Technology at Ardingly College, is honoured with an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list.   The prestigious award was bestowed on him for services to Education.

On discovering his nomination, Dr Spiers said: “I’m very honoured to receive an MBE. I never dreamt I would receive such an award – it’s such a wonderful surprise to be recognised in this way.  I’m very lucky that every day I combine the two things I love most: science and teaching.  I work with young people whose minds are full of energy, enthusiasm and inquisitiveness in the wonderful environment that is Ardingly College.  Needless to say, I’m very much looking forward to attending the service at Buckingham Palace!”

Dr Spiers fell in love with science at an early age.  The spark was first lit when he used to take his father’s watches apart and attempt to put them back together at the tender age of 6! Pursuing a career in science was a given and has brought many exciting challenges.

After completing a PhD at King’s College London, Dr Spiers worked for the GEC Hirst Research Centre developing plasma techniques for the manufacture of integrated circuits.  In addition he ran four University research projects at Cambridge, Kings College, Oxford and Ulster Universities, which were run for the Government under the Alvey initiative. These projects extended the scientists’ knowledge of plasma systems and helped produce a high number of talented students for the burgeoning microelectronics industry.

A change in company direction, and a shift in the emphasis of government-funded research, then lead Dr Spiers to enter the world of overseas project management helping to run three major builds involving companies from the UK, USA and Japan. Dr Spiers then set up his own engineering company to design and build equipment for high purity environments. After a decade of running this company, and after the birth of his second child, he decided to change career and enter teaching.  Fifteen years in the role and it is this career he enjoys the most.

Along-side the joy of teaching the examined curriculum, his lessons reach far beyond prescribed learning, broadening the intellectual horizons and empowering pupils with transferable life skills. Industry, universities and research establishments are brought right into the heart of teaching at Ardingly College. This is achieved through many activities including: The Medical Society, Digging for Dinosaurs, the Observatory, the Ardingly Solar Car and scholar enrichment programmes including extending links with Oxbridge and Russell Group universities.

Of teaching at Ardingly College, Dr Spiers says:  “It is most fulfilling to help to develop young minds and see the scientists, medics and engineers of the future grow and become the citizens of tomorrow. Showing these young people the wonderful opportunities that exist in the outside world is very rewarding and most importantly, we try to give every student at Ardingly College an inner desire to make a positive difference to society.”

Dr Spiers’ hope is for all his scientists to reach their true potential; to be enthused by their educational experience and have the inner desire to make a positive difference to society.